Famed scientist Stephen Hawking to present the Stephen Finnigan-directed documentary in Cambridge.

The 33rd Cambridge Film Festival, which runs from September 19-29, is to open with documentary Hawking.

Told in his own words and by those closest to him, the film relays Professor Stephen Hawking’s journey from boyhood underachiever, to PhD genius, to being diagnosed with Motor Neurone disease and given just two years to live. Despite the constant threat of death, Hawking has risen to fame and stardom and continues to make scientific discoveries.

The professor, best-selling author (A Brief History of Time) and Cambridge resident will present the film in person on September 19.

Stephen Finnigan, BAFTA-nominated series producer of The Choir: Military Wives, directs the Channel 4 and PBS co-production, which is produced by Darlow Smithson Productions (DSP).

It received its world premiere at SXSW in March and the UK rights have been secured by Vertigo Films. It is also due to air on Channel 4 in the UK later this year.

Other festival highlights include a Young American Cinema programme, showcasing new filmmakers who have emerged in the US in the last few years, using alternative resources to get films made on smaller budgets.

Films include the UK premiere of Matt Porterfield’s I Used To Be Darker and Only The Young by Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet.

The festival will also celebrate the work of cult German director Roland Klick with a retrospective programme in collaboration with Goethe-Institut.  Films to be screened include Deadlock (1970), Supermarket (1973) and White Star (1983), starring Dennis Hopper, and all of his shorts.

In addition the Festival will have the UK premiere of Sandra Pretchel’s documentary Roland Klick –The Heart Is A Hungry Hunter, with excerpts from his films and contributions from contemporaries such as Eva Mattes, Otto Sander and Hark Bohm as well as from Klick himself.

The full Cambridge Film Festival programme will be announced in mid-August.